According to the Global Peace Index, Iceland once again tops the list of the world’s most peaceful countries in 2016. We can’t say we’re surprised; while the report factors in things like neighboring country relations, the stunning colors in the sky and abundance of natural beauty would bring down anyone’s blood pressure. Then again, there are plenty of ways to ignite your love of life and get your blood pumping, including glacier hiking and a embarking on a tour of Game of Thrones filming locations. If you’re seeking a getaway full of quiet respite and awe-inspiring landscapes, we have you covered: Here are 5 of the top things to do in Iceland.
Visit the Blue Lagoon
Not to be confused with the Black Lagoon of scary movie fame, the Blue Lagoon of Iceland is one of the most visited places in the country. It’s also breathtaking and can easily lull you into a peaceful trance. The lagoon is a geothermal spa, where you’ll soothe your muscles in a saltwater oasis and enjoy a relaxing turn in the steam room before getting an in-water massage. If you want the ultimate R&R while you’re in the world’s most peaceful destination, a trip to the Blue Lagoon is definitely in order.
Stand before Fríkirkjan í Reykjavík
If anything is symbolic of how safe and peaceful Iceland is, it’s the stoic presence of this historic church in Reykjavik. Sitting in the center of the nation’s capital city, the green steeple of the building can be spotted from quite a distance. The Free Church has been standing in this spot since 1903. Show up at sunset, and the experience is quite surreal. The church also happens to be next to one of the most serene attractions in Iceland—Tjörnin Pond. Whether its frozen over or shining under the summer sun, this peaceful body of water is the perfect neighbor for Fríkirkjan í Reykjavík.
Tour the Golden Circle
This historic route in southern Iceland definitely takes the top prize in the category of “scenic drives.” When it comes to pit stops, well-known Iceland attractions like the majestic Gullfoss waterfall and the powerful Strokkur geyser are just the beginning. Your Golden Circle tour may also include a stop at Þingvellir National Park and countless charming towns along the route.
Make the trek to Viðey Island
Just a short trip on the Elding Ferry separates you from one of the most magical places to visit in Iceland. Viðey Island is not only a hot spot for hiking and biking (trails abound), but it also has ancient ruins and the first house in Iceland ever built with stone. Get your dose of history, and then meander around the island’s edge, day dreaming and soaking up some inspiration.
Gaze up at the Northern Lights
Spotting the ever elusive Northern Lights is one of the most bewitching activities in Iceland. Between September and April, when the sun goes down the sky often turns into a watercolor painting, swirls of green and purple illuminating clear skies and enchanting everyone who stands beneath them. Sometimes you can see the lights from Reykjavik, but you’re more likely to catch the display in all its glory if you head north.